Beginning Author

When I first decided to become an author I didn't approach it as a profession. What do you mean by this? Simply: I sat down at my Compaq 2000 keyboard (yes, that long ago) and pecked out a story that had been machinating in my mind for months. I submitted a few pages to a number of agents and, like a first round NBA draft pick, waited for the offers and riches to roll in. Needless to say, they did not. A few more manuscript drafts and revisions, I resubmitted (yes, you could do that then), all but certain that the next J.D. Salinger or Harper Lee had been born. As the rejection letters rolled in for a second time, my once healthy and lofty sense of self smacked back down to the earth meteorically. My hopes now dashed and pride bruised, I stuffed the three hundred page paper weight in a drawer and hit the want ads. Ten years later the writing bug, like a once dormant infection, reemerged. This time, however, I swore to myself it would be different. I hit the books and seminars. I consumed as much information on the writing craft as was humanly possible. I read the works of authors who wrote in the same genre that interested me. I scoured the internet for topics on story structure, pace, tension building, character development, plot and other techniques of writing. My approach this time would be as a scholar learning the profession of creative writing - a big difference from before. The work seemed familiar - it was. In another life I worked as an architect. The design of a story had many of the same elements that went into the design of a building. Larry Brooks did well in naming his instructional manual Story Engineering. I called upon these similarities to pen my first novel Sheaves of Zion. The hard work paid off. The novel received a bronze medal for mystery in the 2013 Reader's Favorite book awards. Had I only replaced "author" with "doctor" or "engineer" or any other discipline for that matter, I would've seen the need to study the craft. My approach those many years ago seemed foolish - it was. I understand the pantzer vs plotter debate. I'm not a natural writer. I have to work at it - hard. I've failed as a pantzer but have found some success as a plotter. Perhaps, as I hone my craft more, the pantzer in me will flourish. For now, I'll continue my three and four part act plot form and story outline (Down).


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